Change in life is inevitable and it is not always easy to adjust to, especially for children. Whether you are moving, going through a divorce, or even changing your child’s school, helping them cope with change while managing emotions and expectations is essential to prevent further issues with their mental health and ability to maintain a positive outlook. By providing the right emotional support and guidance, ensure your child feels safe, protected, and listened to any time they are wary of a new chapter in their lives.
Talk Openly Together
Communication is a key element to keep in mind when you want to help your children adjust to new changes and chapters in their lives. Maintaining an open and honest dialogue is a way to build trust while providing your child with a much-needed sense of security and emotional support. Discuss the changes your child is experiencing and refrain from reacting harshly or with judgment or guilt. Allow your child to openly communicate how they are feeling and why they are feeling that way to strengthen the bond you have with one another.
Listen to What Your Child Says
While communication is imperative, listening is equally as important when your child is struggling with anxiety, stress, or even feelings of depression and confusion. When you create a dialogue with your child, allow them to express themselves without hearing an immediate response from you. Provide nods of encouragement and to remind them that they are being listened to and heard. Even if you feel the urge to respond immediately, refrain and allow your child to continue until they provide you with a signal to respond or ask for your opinion and input. When a child feels as if you take their thoughts and emotions seriously, they are much more likely to turn to you in challenging and stressful periods of their life.
Allow Your Child to Feel Upset or Angry
Feeling upset and angry are common emotions experienced by children when they are going through new or unexpected changes in life. Rather than steering your child in a direction to avoid or prevent their negative emotions from showing, allow them to express themselves in a manner they see fit. Prevent your child from feeling as if their emotions need to remain repressed by accepting the way they react to a new situation or life change. Express your support of their feelings so they do not feel alone and isolated as they work through their current struggles of adjustment.
Offer Options and Choices
Providing options and various choices surrounding a new life change is a great way to change the mindset of your child. If you are moving to a new location, allow your child to choose their preferred bedroom or offer them the option to paint and decorate as they please. Negotiation and cooperation are both essential tactics to keep in mind whenever you child is struggling with a new change that is drastic in their life. Whether you are moving across the country or enrolling your child in a new school, provide them with the ability to make choices and decisions on their own, even if they are small to you.
Create a Steady Routine
Having a routine helps children to adjust to new changes while coping with the emotions they are feeling. Without a steady routine, children are likely to feel lost, hopeless, or confused about their place in the household. Implementing a solid routine is one way to show you care while providing boundaries and a set schedule that provides a sense of security and calmness for your child.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Maintaining a positive outlook and modeling good behavior is essential as a parent of a child who is experiencing life changes that are drastic or unexpected. If you are upset, stressed, nervous, or angry about the changes your household is experiencing, your child is likely to feel the same way and may ultimately shut you out of their own feelings and emotions. Showing your child that you have the ability to face and overcome any challenges you are presented with that relate to the new changes in your life is necessary to motivate them to remain calm while maintaining a positive outlook. Children look to their parents as role models and for guidance when making tough decisions and adapting to the world around them. To truly help your child adjust with tough and difficult changes, it is important to be the change you want to see in them yourself.
Consider a Wellbeing Psychologist
When your child has experienced a traumatic incident or is having tremendous difficulty adjusting to a new change in their life, consider working together with wellbeingpsychologists who specialize in helping children and adolescents. A wellbeing psychologist is well-versed in communicating, listening, and assisting children and adolescents with internal struggles they face each day. With the help of a wellbeing psychologist, learn more about the root cause of the issues your child is dealing with and how to better overcome them with at-home activities and exercises that are beneficial to both you and your child.
Before choosing a wellbeing psychologist to visit with your child, consider the type of guidance you believe they require. Determine whether your child may benefit from individual therapy sessions or with family-oriented meetings. Discuss the opportunity of visiting a psychologist with your child while also encouraging the betterment of their mental health. Share stories of your own visits to therapists or times that you struggled when you were similar in age. Relating to your child about improving their mental health is key to prevent them from avoiding the possibility of working with a professional altogether.
Knowing how to help your kids better manage change is essential as life becomes more complicated or goes in a new direction unexpectedly. By working with professionals and maintaining a positive connection with your child, work together to find peace of mind while developing the right strategy that is best for all members of the household.